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Publisher's Summary

In 1962, boxing writers and fans considered Cassius Clay an obnoxious self-promoter, and few believed that he would become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X, the most famous minister in the Nation of Islam - a sect many white Americans deemed a hate cult - saw the potential in Clay, not just for boxing greatness but as a means of spreading the Nation's message. The two became fast friends, keeping their interactions secret from the press for fear of jeopardizing Clay's career. Clay began living a double life - a patriotic "good Negro" in public and a radical reformer behind the scenes. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.

Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm's personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay, from the boxing arenas and mosques to postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami.

©2016 Randy Roberts and John Matthew Smith (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story

Littered with little known facts, this story drags along to its ultimate end. The author seems to mix these truths with his biased opinions.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tammy j
  • Ulster Park, new York, US
  • 07-15-16

this book cast Dark Shadows on to be loved figures

This book provided some insight and facts about these men's daily lives. It also projects evil motives and suggests their thoughts. Muhammad Ali is presented as an ignorant but shrewd performer. Malcolm X is presented as a manipulative man hungry for power. I do not ascribe to either these views.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting take on a 5-year period in two famous lives

There are a lot of books, movies and other sources out there on these two men, but this is the story of five tumultuous years that they were at the center of. Definitely offers a new take - and, in part, a takedown - of their lives. Certainly an expose of rampant corruption and criminality within the NOI. The author accuses the NOI of orchestrating Malcolm X's murder and also hints at some complicity on the part of the FBI.

I thought that the narration was good overall, but with a couple major flaws that were annoying. This is a well-done production, the producers and narrator should make sure that they are pronouncing words correctly, including Accra (e-krah, emphasis on the second syllable) and reporter Dick Schaap's last name, rhymes with chap not chop. Finally, imitating Ali is always fraught with peril and the narrator has to attempt it on several occasions. As Ali's onetime fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco once said, "if you say it, you sound childish; if he says it's funny."

Other than those minor problems a worthwhile listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Biased and Stereotyping Narrative

I can't understand how someone can stereotype with words like "disguise and dissemblance have been integral part of African American culture" to claim that Cassius Clay and Malcolm X were deceptive people and still earn praise for their book. While the book was filled with interesting little known facts, it was biased with opinions of the author assigning feelings and thoughts to the two men in addition to assigning characteristics to them because of their race.

There were things about lives of both Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X that I did not know about. I think if the author had approached the two men's character with the complexity that they embodied instead of stereotyping them for their race, I would have been more inclined to reccomend the book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • 03-27-18

Great insight into these two powerful brothers

Very interesting and informative narrative of two of the most influential brothers in my life as a black man.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful!!!

While the first few chapters of this book are things I was quite familiar with; the overall research, delivery and story telling was phenomenal. Not only did the authors give vivid details of the multiple assassination attempts on Malcolm X's life carried out by the NOI and federal government, it showed how Muhammad Ali played a role or lack there of for stepping in and saving his once friends life. Blame it on youth or fear of repercussions from the NOI, Muhammad Ali has a lot to answer for. Also, Elijah Muhammad actions, attitude and disposition displayed that he was no better than the men he critiqued and taught who black America should fight against.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, not so great audio rendering

Would you try another book from Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith and/or David Drummond?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Brothers?

Getting to know that Ali and Malcolm X were such close friends

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Drummond?

Someone not trying to sound like a ring side announcer

Could you see Blood Brothers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It's a great story but I am not sure who could do justice to the memory of these two great men

Any additional comments?

no

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!

Lots of hidden gems. The Book touched on a lot of things I didn't know about!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Informative

I really enjoyed this book. I was very disappointed to learn that a man whom I thought growing up was a great man was in many ways a coward. He grew in adulthood but at the loss of a great friend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read

Deep, emotional, and engaging. The boxing scenes are vivid, and the political storytelling brings the 60s to life.